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Jolien D'Hoore gears up for fast RideLondon Classique and beyond

Joe Robinson
28 Jul 2017

Jolien D'Hoore aims for victory in London with further goal of European Championship and 'Tour de France' glory

With the growing popularity and size of women's professional cycling comes the growing expectations and ambitions of the riders. Current Belgian National Champion Jolien D'Hoore certainly does not lack in either expectation or ambition. 

Looking ahead to victory at this Saturday's RideLondon Classique circuit race, D'Hoore has sets her sights on potential European Championship success followed by future glory at La Course. 

Kicking of a weekend of cycling in London, the RideLondon Classique will see the women's pro peloton take to the streets of London.

Expected to be a fast and furious race, the win is expected to be taken in a bunch sprint. D'Hoore certainly starts as one of the favourites for victory.

With sprint wins at the Giro d'Italia Femminile and OVO Energy Women's Tour already under her belt this season, the 27-year-old sprinter is expected to produce a top result come Saturday afternoon.

Her victory at this year's Women's Tour came on a similar city course in London, although not on the same circuit. 

Despite having never ridden the Classique course, D'Hoore believes that the experience of victory in London will leave her in good stead. 

'I have good memories of London. It was a hard criterium but I liked it and I hope for the same tomorrow,' adding 'I would like it to be a fast and hard race. There will be attacks but hopefully I can go for the bunch sprint.'

D'Hoore will not be the only option for her Wiggle High-5 team. Former World Champion Giorgia Bronzini will add firepower to the side looking to take the women's tour most lucrative race.

They will face stiff competition from the likes of defending champion Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling), Hannah Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing) and Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla). Despite this challenge, the extensive prize on offer will add impetus for victory.

With €25,000 on offer for the winner, the RideLondon Classique is the richest race in the women's World Tour calendar. With it also partnering the Prudential RideLondon sportive and men's RideLondon-Surrey Classic, that take place on the Sunday, the Classique finds itself as one of the most watched women's races throughout the year.

D'Hoore believes that this attention from the public and the press received in London coupled with the big prize money make for a big difference.

'It's amazing. I suffer but do not notice because of the crowds cheering. You get goosebumps riding your bike and it gives you that little extra to go harder' she said.

'We are not used to the attention. The UK always have a lot of press attention and big crowds that make a difference and I enjoy it.'

The growth of professional women's cycling has also seen a rise in the quality of the field. With the likes of Marianne Vos (WM3 Energie) and Boels-Dolmans dominating in previous years, D'Hoore believes the field has been levelled, with teams being able to compete across the whole calendar rather than just in a few races. 

Whilst Boels-Dolmans have still taken almost half of the World Tour victories so far this season, their presence has been less apparent and D'Hoore attributes this to teams expanding their roster to accommodate riders of all specialities. 

'Last year, Boels-Dolmans were the strongest but this year is different. The spread of riders is wider now and teams like Team Sunweb, Canyon-SRAM and Cervélo-Bigla are strong.' 

'Every team has climbers and sprinters now, not just Boels.'

The strength of women's cycling presented itself at this year's La Course. 

Running parallel to the men's Tour de France, La Course found itself extended this year wth a mountain top finish to the Col d'Izoard and pursuit time trial in Marseille instead of the criterium around the Champs-Élysées in Paris. 

Whilst the expansion of a women's Tour de France is encouraged, and this year's course being enjoyed by those riding it, D'Hoore firmly believes more can be done to offer a female alternative to the men's race. 

'I hope they change the course again. A mini women's Tour would be awesome.'

She added, 'It existed in the past so I do not see why there should not be one now. I am really hoping it will come soon and I can wear the green sprinter's jersey.'

Whilst these lofty ambitions seem within grasp, D'Hoore has more pressing goals, starting with the European Championships in Herning, Denmark, next month.

The flat course will certainly suit a sprinter and with a possibility of adverse weather, D'Hoore has set her sights on victory. 

'The World Championships will be too hard for me this year but Denmark suits me. The course could be flat and windy.'

'I have had quite a relaxed year enjoying riding my bike this year, but the European Championships is certainly my biggest goal.'

 

Photos: Wiggle/Jack Chevell

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